Five years ago, Lisa Robinson and Ronda Winfield two visionary entrepreneurs started My Independence At Home a home health care business created to serve the elderly and adults with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities which allows them to maintain their independence, remain in familiar home environments and keep their social networks intact.
They both have had personal experiences in needing home based medical assistance. Lisa Robinson served in the US military; she is a single parent who at the age of thirty-four had a stroke which paralyzed the left side of her body. She had to learn how to speak, move and become mobile all over again. She needed extensive therapy and support to recover fully which she has done thanks to her family and home health care.
Ronda Winfield’s father was a terminal cancer patient who wanted to remain in his home and not be consigned to a facility. He still smoked even though he was on oxygen, so she needed someone to watch and care for him when she wasn’t there. Their experiences gave them the idea to partner and form a home health support company.
The business is gaining in public awareness and has garnered several awards and recognitions for the quality of service and their business acumen. Recently My Independence At Home was awarded the 2018 Eastern Pennsylvania Minority Owned Small Business of the Year award.
Reggie McGlawn the Community Liaison for the company is passionate about the company and the services they render. “We have about one hundred and forty W-2 employees working in the field and twelve in the office. What we do is hire home health aides and certified nursing assistants to service the elderly and adults with disabilities with their activities of daily living. Activities of daily living are feeding, food preparation, light housework, bathing, shaving, taking them to run their errands and doctor’s appointments, getting their prescriptions and most importantly companionship. Right now, we are what’s called non-skilled but next year we will have nurses that can take care of you.”
There are several payment options for their services: private pay which ranges from twenty-seven dollars an hour to thirty-five dollars an hour depending upon the services provided and the state funded waiver program. Mr. McGlawn described the Waiver Program, “The waiver program is sponsored by the city of Philadelphia, the State of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania lottery. To qualify you must meet several criteria, you cannot earn over $2,200 a month and you must have a medical need and you cannot have more than eight thousand dollars in the bank. If you meet these qualifications contact the Pennsylvania Corporation of Aging and fill out an application. PCA takes that to the Office of Long Term Living who determines how many hours a person gets, whether you get a few hours or twenty-four hour care. Your doctor must sign off that you need medical services. If you meet those guidelines, most of the time you will be approved.”
The company is in the process of being certified to provide professional health care, meaning nurses and physicians assistants. They anticipate they will have a license to provide professional health care by early 2019.
Home health care is a bourgeoning industry. Mr. McGlawn offered several essential tips on how to select the agency that is best for you. “Make sure the company actually exists, there are a lot of people out there doing business out of their cars, do your research, shop around contact several agencies, ask for references, meet and greet the staff and interview potential caregivers, make sure the agency has the staff to meet your needs, for example they can’t send a one hundred-twenty pound person to service a three hundred pound client who needs to the lifted or moved into a wheelchair.” All their staff are vetted, screened and subject to national and state criminal background, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, sex offender and child abuse checks.
Mr. McGlawn’s job is meeting the public and giving presentations. “I speak to no less than two hundred seniors. We tell them what to look for in a home care agency, we also talk to the about wills, living wills, power of attorney we visit churches nursing homes, assisted living facilities, they utilize social media and they broker time on a local radio station WNAP Gospel Highway 1110 AM.
Keeping your loved one in a familiar environment with caring support does wonders for their health, their state of mind and their willingness to live; especially after an accident, a stroke or major illness.
For more information about My Independence At Home visit www.myiah.org or call (215) 921-2277.